In addition to perpetually issuing proposals to reform some government agency or program, conservatives are also fond of reforming something in the private sector that is heavily controlled by government. Health care reform is a common reform topic.
A case in point is James C. Capretta’s recent RealClearPolicy article titled “Ten Health Care Ideas for No One In Particular.” Capretta is a senior fellow and holds the Milton Friedman Chair at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a right-leaning think tank, “where he studies health care, entitlement programs, and fiscal trends in advanced economies.” He spent more than 16 years in “public service” before joining AEI.
Capretta believes that “what the country needs is a strong presentation of the alternative to a government-managed system, which is one that relies on competition and choice to deliver better results.”
He correctly says that the U.S. health care system “is best seen as a public-private non-system, built upon a haphazard mix of subsidies and regulations adopted at various points in response to idiosyncratic political and historical factors.”
He then offers ten reforms that “would not fix health care once and for all but would deliver tangible improvements.” He divides the reforms into three groups: general reforms, Medicare, and coverage. I won’t bore you with the reforms and all of their details. They are proposed reforms of a deeply flawed system, after all, “for no one in particular,” not principles upon which health care for everyone in the United States should be based.
So here are ten health care ideas for everyone:
The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to have anything to do with health care or health insurance.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should be eliminated.
There is no right to affordable health care.
Health care is a service that can and should be provided on the free market just like any other service.
Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are welfare programs that should be eliminated.
It is not the proper role of government to fund or subsidize health-care services.
It is not the proper role of government to regulate or mandate health care-services.
No American is entitled to health care provided at the expense of another American—regardless of how poor, old, sick, or disabled he is.
No American should be forced to pay for the health care of any other American.
Health-care freedom is always preferable to government intervention of any kind.
All conservative health care reform proposals fall short because they are reform proposals. The problem with health care in the United States is not that the system is broken and needs to be fixed by government reforms. The problem is the government control of the system. Health care should be completely separated from the state, just like religion.